It’s hard to think of Zydrunas Savickas as someone with anything left to learn about strength and conditioning. At 42 years old, the guy has been competing in strength sports for twenty years — he came eighteenth in the 1998 World’s Strongest Man while competing in international powerlifting contests — and has taken home scores of titles. He’s won World’s Strongest Man four times, the World Log Lift Championships five times, the Arnold Strongman Classic eight times, plus he won Lithuania’s National Powerlifting Championships ten times.
We say all this because he seems like he’s known the best training methods for some time, but in fact the guy is always exploring new methods of training and has only recently decided to add hip thrusts to his routine. And according to him, he’s a convert. Here he is performing eight reps of 350 kilograms, or 771.6 pounds. That is a lot of weight.
He posted this today with the caption,
Hip thrusts really help to get stronger. I start use hip thrusts two months ago and feel stronger in deadlift and squat.
As far as big compound exercises go, the hip thrust is a relatively recent addition to the strength training canon, only really catching on in lifting circles in the past ten years or so. You can thank Dr. Bret Contreras for that, a strength coach who popularized the movement. The heaviest hip thrust we’ve seen him make was 725 pounds.
It’s a pretty great exercise, though. Along with the hamstrings and lower back, the hip thrust works all three gluteal muscles (the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus) and is fantastic at improving hip extension. In fact, a recent study showed that they they’re significantly better than deadlifts and trap bar deadlifts for targeting the glutes, particularly at hip extension. That’s a critical component of squats, deadlifts, and strongman activities, so Savickas’ quote is right on the money.
Right now, the Lithuanian is training for Europe’s Strongest Man, which kicks off in Leeds in just three weeks. Savickas has said on Instagram that he hopes to break his 228kg world record for the log press. He’s aiming to lift over 230 kilograms, and even agreed with one commenter that 235 kilograms is “achievable.” For a feat like that, he’ll need all the help and hip extension he can get — best of luck to him.
Featured image via @savickas_bigz on Instagram.